Being an aunt to a beautiful little girl, I am in the middle of learning all of the do's and don'ts of taking care of young children. There are so many "suggestions" out there, from not allowing your child to watch TV until they're two years old, to not giving them them anything with refined sugar, gluten, MSG, GMOs, pesticides, farm-raised, blah, blah, blah. There are even some "experts" out there that tell you not to let children drink apple juice. Apple juice. What has this world come to?
Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if my parents didn't make me dinner and I was left to eat M&M's by myself. They wholeheartedly supported a healthy diet, and made my lunches and prepared my dinner. But they didn't forbid me from having sugar and salt.
The Importance of Abundant Food
Whenever friends would come to my house, they would envy my pantry – filled to the brim with all kinds of cereal (especially Fruit Loops), peanut butter, crackers, Cheez-Its, and Milano cookies. But it was also filled with roasted nuts, dried fruits, and granola. And as my freezer always had tubs of ice cream, my fridge also had tons of apples.
Now, this isn't meant to brag about the abundance of food in my household – it's to show how important food is to my family. Being Middle Eastern, food is the center of all gatherings, big and small. Seriously, we can't do anything without excessively eating. It can get annoying sometimes.
No matter what event or time of day, my grandma always puts out a feast for the family. Her reasoning behind so much food is to not only make our stomachs full (as all grandmas love to do), but also to make our minds (and hearts) full. My mom learned from her mom and followed suit, and now that's being passed on to me, too.
Appreciating Real Food
But, as I said before, no restrictions = no restricted mindset. This allowed me to enjoy and appreciate every food that I was given, healthy and unhealthy. And I'm still that way – I love all kinds of food (except anchovies, those things are nasty).
No Binges Later On
A Healthy Approach to Food
So what happened to me because my parents let me eat whatever I wanted as a child? Nothing terrible. I'm not obese, in fact I am probably the healthiest one out of my family and friends. I'm not insecure when it comes to food, but instead appreciate it.